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Showing posts with the label grace

My heart and mind might be wrong

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Oh, Lord,  Examine my heart and mind because they might be wrong. In fact, I know they are. I'm wrong. I confess it. My thoughts are angry, unkind, ungraceful. My words reflect my thoughts,  and I'm ashamed of them. Bring every wrong thought captive-- reveal my selfish motives for why I think and say what I do. Show me the truth. I need your perspective, not my own. Examine my heart and mind and humble me enough to admit what's lurking there. Lord, I confess it again. I'm wrong .  Fill me with grace, forgiveness, and understanding . I want to continually walk in your truth , in your way, in your timing. I praise you for your faithfulness to me, even when I'm not faithful back. Thank you, Lord. Your mercy is unfathomable. In Jesus' name,  Amen "Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth." (Psalm 26:2-3)

A confession of bitterness & a decision toward grace

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  "Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of  bitterness  grows up to trouble you, corrupting many." (Hebrews 12:15) An observation: If we care for one another,  God gives us grace . If we don't care for one another, we don't get grace from anyone. Bitterness is a weed that overtakes a garden until it has choked out every plant that was once beautiful and productive until the garden becomes useless and ugly. Bitterness prevents blessing . A prayer: Oh, Lord, I confess my bitterness  and my lack of trust in you to direct me in all things. I've resented you allowing weeds into my life. My heart has not been fertile or  productive lately. It has been a garden of weeds instead of a garden of flowers. Please forgive me and help me develop the courage to rip out every weed and prune back every thought and habit that doesn't honor you . I confess holding grudges, distrusting your care, and prote

Blessings go both ways

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  Oh, Lord, I bless you name and your promises. You are great, and you act justly in my life. You don't withhold good things from me, and you lead me in the path that you want me to take. You bless me abundantly. I don't deserve your grace ,  but you give it freely. I will praise you to everyone. When I go to sleep praising you, I wake up praising you. May you always be on my heart and mind-- when I'm working, struggling, relaxing, worrying. When I praise you, I am aware of how much you give me! How enormous is the sum of your blessings on my life! They are more vast than the stars in the sky. I cannot count them all. Give me the perspective and grace to bless my family , my church, my government, and even my enemies . Fill me with your magnitude of your presence, and may I always sit in awe of you and the astonishing actions you perform on my behalf! In Jesus' name, Amen. "I will bless the  Lord  who guides me;  even at night my heart instructs me." ( Psalm

Confession of racism in the U.S. & a prayer for Arbery's justice

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Maybe you ran 2.23 miles Friday in honor of runner Ahmaud Arbery , who was chased down and shot to death by Gregory and Travis McMichael on Feb. 23, 2020. Ahmaud would have been 26 Saturday, May 8. Four months after the shooting, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has decided to arrest the son and father vigilantes. But will Georgia justly prosecute this travesty of racism, racial profiling, aggravated assault, and murder? As believers, we can and should pray for at least two things regarding this tragic situation: 1. confession of the racism in our country 2. requesting justice for the Arbery family and other non-white citizens who undergo similar persecution in "the land of the free" Why should we confess something if we had nothing to do with it? Answer: the same reason that Moses confessed the sins of Israel, even though he didn't commit them. Moses prayed to stop God's heavy hand of judgment, which was poised to annihilate the Israelites. Moses' f

I feel stuck in this crisis

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Hello,  It's me again, Lord. I feel stuck. There's so much to talk about, to ask you for, and to ask you about: The Coronavirus ,  the quarantine, the Chinese, the economy, the jobless, the sick, the first responders, the doctors and nurses, my work, my home, my family, my church, my community, my country, the world. There is so much. I know you're not worried. I know you have a plan. Of course, your p lan is always to glorify your Son, Jesus. Your plan is always to redeem us, your children. Somehow, you do both. It's hard to understand. Your ways are higher than mine. Your perspective is broader than mine. Your purpose is holy, while mine is selfish. You are working, and I want to join you, but I feel stuck in this crisis. Develop courage in me because I am afraid . Develop grace in me because I am judgmental. Develop patience in me because I am impatient. Develop compassion in me because I am selfish. I ask you to ans

Forgiveness for my enemies

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Lord, Help me to give grace, to be patient, to be forgiving, to be full of mercy and understanding. I do not want to be entitled, vengeful, bitter,  or defeated. I want to be like you. But that's incredibly difficult. Impossible. Please help me love even those who hurt me. In Jesus' name, Amen. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’   But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,   that you may be children  of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.   If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?   And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?   Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.   ( Matthew 5:43-48 )

Thank you for remembering me

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Oh Lord, You have perfect memory. You remember me, even though you have so many more important things to remember. You don't forget what makes me grieve, feel lonely, ignored, foolish, or embarrassed. You know what makes me fill with pride, shrink in fear, and weep with gratitude. (Click here for a prayer called "Only You.") You made me. You know me. And nothing about me makes you pull away, feel disappointed or annoyed. You have infinite love, patience, and grace. For me. Even when I'm horrible. Even when I think I'm wonderful, but I'm really not. You have designed me, and therefore, you intend to prosper me no matter how much I mess up. (Cick here for a prayer about design: "Thank you for my children's struggles.") Thank you for remembering that I'm so so fallible. Thank you for remembering me enough to die for me. Thank you for everything. In Jesus' wonderful name, Amen. "As a father has co

Prayer about grace, for grace

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Oh, Lord God, You are full of grace for me. Help me to full of grace for other people-- not so quick to judge and condemn. Not find it so easy to think ill of someone's motives and criticize why they do the things they do or compare myself and be jealous of them. You give me grace, and yet I am ungracious. I want to think of myself with "sober judgment," in humility, honesty, and transparency. I am flawed. I am sinful and selfish, and yet you call me beautiful, holy, and desired. That's because of your grace. I don't deserve your love and mercy. Give me the eyes to see everyone the way you see them. I want to see potential, value, worth. I want to see someone full of promise, who maybe just needs a chance. Someone full of gifting, who needs an encourager, not a competitor. Maybe they need someone to listen, someone to love, someone to affirm their value. Someone who will point out what they're doing well instead of what they&#

Praying Peace and Destiny over your Spouse

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*(If you're a husband, switch all the him, he , and his to her, she, and her !) Dear Lord God Almighty, You've created my spouse with special care. You've fashioned his mind to process and his temperament to respond in the exact way You want it to. You've given him the ability to lead and follow, to be patient and impatient, to be confident and worried, to wait and to act. Your wisdom tells him what to do when. Protect him from discouraging influences, from critics, cynics, fools, and braggarts. Send Your angels to guard the mission You've designed for him and guard his heart from discouragement and disappointment. When he sees the enemy, may he give those souls over to You. May he love his enemies with Your love. Speak to him. Send whispers of hope shivering through his soul. Touch his memory and imagination with creativity that can only come from You. Make his heart feel light and happy, even while it carries a heavy weight. Only through

Lord, You did it again! (a praise for grace)

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Dear Lord, You did it again! You answered prayers we didn't deserve to have answered. You gave grace in the midst of our frailties. You sprinkled favor on us like a gentle rain; Your radiance shined on us, like the sun breaking through after a storm. Thank you! Thank you for being Yourself, Your loving and generous self, who gives to the just and the unjust, the holy and unholy, just because You're holy. You gave us another gift today, just because You're You. We are eternally grateful. Help us to live worthy of Your grace here on earth (at least as much as possible). It's what You want from us-- relationship, obedience, glory to God. May You lengthen our memory of this day until the next time we wonder if You love us enough to hear our prayers. In Jesus' precious name, Amen. image by  MALIZ ONG

Everlasting Faithfulness

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Lord,  El Olam , the Everlasting God, Help me to trust in you Because you are eternal--you have always been, and you will always be. When trouble comes, and there's no end in sight, help me to trust your will. When I feel betrayed by someone close, help me to trust your friendship. When life seems unfair, help me to trust your justice. When I am anxious about the future, help me to trust your peace. When I am lost, looking for direction, help me to trust your guidance. When my circumstances seem hopeless, help me to trust your wisdom. When everyone feels untrustworthy, help me to trust your character. You have always been faithful to those who seek you-- Always just to those who need justice-- Always strong to those who lean on you-- Always loving, even when I am unlovable. You are everlasting, and so is your faithfulness, your mercy, your grace, and your unending love. Why am I worried? Why am I fearful? I will hope in the Lord, from whom all blessings f

Praying Psalm 40

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Lord, God, Help me to wait patiently for your words, for your moving of the Holy Spirit, for your prompting and prodding of me toward the work you have for me, even if that work is corrective. Convicting. Give me patience and faith not to move forward in my own strength, not to make an idol of my own wisdom or abilities. I need you. I know I do. Give me the humility to remember that. I recount the wonders you have done already-- You have nothing to prove to me. Your grace is sufficient. Overflowing. Overwhelming. Help me to bask in your presence and your provision. Here I am. I have come. I desire to do your will, regardless of the personal cost. Do not withhold your mercy from me. May your love and your truth protect my mind and my heart. I am yours. Amen. taken from Psalm 40

3 Encouragements on 9/11

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Yesterday I taught a Bible study on learning to praise first when you pray. I mentioned that the focus of my prayers should always be on God rather than me, because when I focus on God's character--his goodness, faithfulness, and grace--only then will I have faith to pray for the things I need. Only then will I have the right perspective and the right motive to pray. Prayer is about sitting in the presence of God, not getting something from Him. I suggested forming prayers of praise around three important components: 1. God’s character—who is He? 2. God’s actions toward you—how does he treat you? 3. God’s history of provision—what has he done for you/others in the past This morning I clicked on the website "Lift Up Your Day" to read an encouraging post by Todd Benkert about 9/11. This was his advice: 1. Remember the character of God 2. Remember the promises of God 3. Remember the works of God Yes! This is why we praise, and this is why we